MSU Cinema International Presents "Public Trust: The Fight For America's Public Lands" This Week
In honor of Public Lands Day this September 25th, Murray State's Cinema International presents Public Trust: The Fight For America's Public Lands. Program director Dr. Thérèse St. Paul speaks to Tracy Ross about the upcoming screenings.
From the MSU Cinema International website:
"A feature-length documentary about America's system of public lands and the fight to protect them. Despite support from voters across the political spectrum, our public lands and waters face unprecedented threats from extractive industries and the politicians in their pockets.
Part love letter, part political exposé, Public Trust investigates how we arrived at this precarious moment through three heated conflicts—a national monument in the Utah desert, a mine in the Boundary Waters, and oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge—and makes a case for their continued protection.
Take action to protect our public lands. Text DEFEND to 71333."
"[Public Trust] is a beautifully shot documentary," St. Paul begins. "It's very enlightening. It shines a light on why the United States first federally protected the land, creating the EPA under Nixon. Why [public lands] are considered important. That almost all Americans enjoy them in some capacity, but they take it for granted."
The documentary is compelling and entertaining, she continues. "It calls for advocacy. It's eye-opening, especially for the young people who may be less aware of how special interests work to get political favor and how public lands have been turned into another money-making business for big interests."
"Despite apparently steady support the public has shown toward the public lands, it seems like the politicians and corporations are in cahoots to ignore all of that. It outlines which politicians have taken money from corporations."
"It even shows CSPAN and news footage," St. Paul adds, "with these same politicians aggressively fighting for the wishes of these companies, often against their constituents' best interests. It's very explicit—a very calm, rational exposition of the problem. It does give a voice to various people, including the First Nation folks who talk about their interests and insights."
Public Trust screenings are sponsored by the Director of Watershed Studies Institute, Dr. Howard H. Whiteman. Whiteman is a part of the MSU Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
"He wanted to celebrate Public Lands Day, which happens to fall on September 25th," St. Paul explains. "So, I expect there's going to be a number of people from environmental and ecology studies there, including Dr. Whiteman. I'm sure there are going to be several leaders or participants in [post-screening] discussions on both days."
St. Paul concludes with two major takeaways. One, "there are about 600 million acres of United States land that is federally protected in this public trust where ecosystems thrive. They are definitely eroded by greedy corporations and politicians."
"Second, Public Trust is calling for advocacy and action, not just civil interests. Taking action is possible."
MSU Cinema International presents Public Trust on Thursday, September 24th, in the Barkley Room, and Saturday, September 25th, in the Curris Center Theater. Both screenings are on the third floor of the Curris Center and start at 7:30 pm.
Screenings are free and open to the public. Murray State COVID-19 guidelines will be followed.
For more information on or to donate to the MSU Cinema International Program, visit their website.